This morning Google announced a new set of policies for developers to provide further protection for children and families who are looking for apps for children in Google Play. New policies require that developers ensure their applications with all necessary regulatory requirements for applications focused on children from the point of view of their content, advertising and how they handle personal information.
For starters, developers are asked to decide whether children are a part of their target audience, and if not, developers should ensure that their application has not been inadvertently appealing to them. Google has promised that he will now double-check the store inside the app itself to make sure that there is nothing can attract the attention of the child audience, and, if necessary, request changes.
Google is going to deal with unscrupulous developers
Apps designed for children must meet policy requirements regarding the content and processing information, allowing to establish the identity of the user. This shouldn’t be new to developers who follow the rules because Google years this practice applies in relation to “safe for kids” apps in the framework of its program “Designed for Families” (Created for families), and different countries have their own rules that you must follow when it comes to the collection of data on children.
In addition, developers whose apps are focused on children should show ads only online, certified for compliance family policy Google.
To ensure compliance with these rules, Google now requires all developers to complete the new sections on target audience and content in a special console Google Play. Here they will have to provide more information about your application. If the developer indicates that the children are his target audience, he will be directed to the appropriate this policy page.
Google will use this information along with a check store inside the app to categorize the apps and assign them to one of the policies, depending on the target group: “children”, “children and adults” and “adults.” And since the definition of “children” can vary depending on the country, developers need to determine which age restrictions apply in the countries where they will spread their application.
Why Google suddenly decided to add new rules for Google Play
Google says it is committed to provide “safe and positive environment” for children and families, therefore, introduce these innovations. To comply with the new rules, the application developers need to populate the new sections with information in the console and confirm its validity, tested by Google before September 1, 2019.
However, changes are likely caused by the FTC’s complaint, filed in December, when a coalition of 22 groups of protection of interests of consumers and public health, led by the Campaign for free trade childhood (CCFC) and the Center for digital democracy (CDD) asked to investigate children’s apps on Google Play.
The organization said that Google does not check apps and games available in Google Play under “family” for compliance with the U.S. law on the privacy of children COPPA.
They also said that many of the so-called “kids” application has demonstrated inappropriate behavior — for example, showing ads that are difficult to close, or show those that require the viewer to continue the game. Some applications forced the children to make in-app purchases, and other broadcast advertising of alcohol, gambling or contain images of a pornographic nature.
The time when such violations can remain unnoticed, is long gone
The sections “Target audience” and “Content” are already in your Google Play console along with the documentation of new policies, guidance for developers and online learning. In addition, Google says it has also increased its staff, improved quality and increased speed of consideration of applications for publishing on Google Play.
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